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Greetings Comanche Club! I was so happy to find this group of fellow Comanche enthusiasts. Hope you’re ready for a long story. My love for the Comanche goes all the way back to 1993 in El Paso, TX. I was 18 years old at the time and had been driving my first car for two years – an ’88 Suzuki Samurai that I’d bought for $2K with money saved up from bussing tables. Well after countless off-road adventures in the deserts of the Southwest including a roll over into a cotton field, held up by the Border Patrol with M-16 machine guns thinking we were running drugs and jumping the thing like I was in the Baja 1000… the Samurai was on its last leg.

 

I was fortunate enough to have nice parents, who helped me finance my next ride. And what a ride it was! I found a used 1992 Comanche at a dealership. Only this one had been bought by some rich Mexican kid whose Dad had spared no expense in aftermarket mods. The thing was loaded: 4.0L engine, bucket seats, power everything, all the options, mirrored tint, Rancho lift, Mickey Thompson tires, American Racing rims, boomin’ stereo system – you name it, this truck had it. Even better was that he did all this and traded it in after a year for something bigger. And the dealership, well they didn’t care about all the add ons… they were selling it for blue book. Around 11K if I remember correctly. Anyway, miraculously I ended up with this thing and I was on top of the world. I finally had a real truck! It didn’t last long.

 

About 6 months into living the teenage dream, some mutha f+cker ran a stop sign on a back road and t-boned me while I was going about 60mph. The truck flipped completely over sideways, hit a telephone pole mid air and somehow managed to land back on its feet. I wasn’t wearing my seatbelt, which might have been a good thing because the entire cab was crushed in on the driver’s side from hitting the ground as it rolled over.  I ended up in the passenger’s side seat, head on the floor. I crawled out as a passer-by stopped to help me, and I’ll never forget looking at the twisted heap of metal and crying out, “my truck!” “Forget the truck,” he said…“You’re alive!” It was little consolation at the time. I was devastated. When I went to see the truck for some kind of insurance thing about a week later, I literally shed tears and grabbed a small wrecked piece of a wheel as a memento. Unfortunately I don’t think I ever even got a photo of the thing, new or destroyed.

 

After that I bought a Wrangler with the insurance money and drove that thing about 170K miles all over the west coast (still got it, though hasn’t run in years). But I always said to myself, “Someday, you’re gonna have another Comanche.” So when I moved back to Colorado in 2007, it was time. I looked on Craigslist, and boom right away, there one was. A 1991 long bed for $4,500. Went to take a look and it was even better than I expected. A mechanic had bought it from a dealership and the engine blew on him not long after. So he put a new engine in (don’t know the specifics) and it only had about 10K on it since (odometer read 110K when I bought it). It had about a 3” Rough Country add-a-leaf lift and some decent BFG 235/85’s on Pro-comp 16s. Don’t know the full history, but judging on very little rust maybe it was always a Colorado truck.  Other than that, it was fairly stock: the seats were pretty torn up, the windshield was cracked, no power anything and no A/C, but it had the bucket seats and was an automatic, just like my original MJ. (And I've learned from reading this site it has the off-road package too). I said what the hell and grabbed it on the spot. It wasn’t to be a daily driver, more of a second vehicle to take to the mountains in Colorado, as I was still traveling a lot. 

 

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I've had a hard time digging up old photos with all the computers I've gone through over the years, but here's a few. 

 

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It's seen many a snowstorm in Colorado, and somehow survived. 

 

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Well, that was about 11 years ago now. Since then, the truck has served me well. It’s been to SoCal and back a few times, hauled a snowmobile up to Jackson Hole, WY, then sat in a garage in Portland, Oregon for a couple years as my rental property work truck (that didn’t help with the rust).

 

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I finally sold the Portland house last year so it was time to bring her back to Colorado, along with my new kitten Willy who I'd found on the streets of Brooklyn the previous November. 

 

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What a mission that was... Ran smack into a powerful March blizzard and had to deal with interstate closures, ice pot-holed roads and several zero visibility situations – all with that God awful CAD 4wd system failing the entire way.

 

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Almost ran out of gas taking a long detour thru the middle of Wyoming and thought Willy and I might die. Once again though, the Comanche got us home safe and sound. 

 

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Even with all these road trips, I only drove it an average of about 2,500 miles a year, so hopefully the engine is still in good shape. Never really did anything to it until now – didn’t have any real money to put into it – just kinda kept it going. That changed starting last year…

 

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Now keep in mind, I live in a condo, have no garage and limited tools in Colorado. So I can’t really do much work myself. I know most of you CC members are DIY guys, and someday I hope to have that option too. But first was taking care of the inside. Had the cracked windshield replaced, hell with insurance it’s free, why didn’t I do this before? Next was the window tint, man that makes a big difference with that hot sun. Then, had the seats re-done and headliner that was falling down replaced.

 

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Found a local guy to hook it up with some thicker marine vinyl for the seating surface that matched the existing grey and a nice padded headliner for a pretty decent price. Got some cheapo rubber floor mats off Groupon (I just ordered some Jeep ones off eBay to replace those). Finally, added a Vertically Driven padded center console and cut down the height so it would fit properly. Next just need to fix the interior lights (krusty has some on the way!) and redo the entire the stereo system with a Bluetooth amp and new speakers so I can keep the OEM head unit (really trying to keep the inside original).

 

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This year it was time for new wheels and tires. Tried as I could to find the ones I had on my first Comanche, but American Racing doesn’t make them anymore and couldn’t find any used ones out there. AR did come out with the Ansen Off-Road tho, a really nice looking retro-styled wheel, and after quite some time of searching for used wheels that would work I decided to say f*ck it and bought four 16” x 8” brand new from Amazon at $155 each. Figured I could step up the tire size while I was at it and went for some BFG AT 285/75 R16 while 4 Wheel Parts was running a rebate and no tax special. Unfortunately when I got the tires mounted and tried to put them on… too big. They wouldn’t fit. Well, I saw that as an excuse to finally get a proper lift installed and make this truck truly off-road ready.

 

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It took a few months to save up some cash, but this spring I was ready. About two months ago I got the 5.5” Rubicon Express Heavy Duty long arm suspension lift they make for the XJ. Pretty spendy but what an improvement! Since it already had the add-a-leaf leaf springs in the back instead of stock leaf springs, when they switched the SOA it actually raised the rear about 7”, so they had to get the 7” front coil springs to even things out.

 

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As a result, it’s even higher than I even expected, but it handles like a champ and I have plenty of wheel clearance. Didn’t need to mess with the body or fender flares at all.

 

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Been putting it to the test on some of the trails around Boulder County and I’ve been quite pleased with its performance so far. Since the garbage CAD system never worked right either, I had a posi-lock installed and finally I have full confidence in the 4-wheel drive. I’m guessing at some point the RE Heavy Duty Y-Link steering kit would be a good addition as well... I’m not really into rock crawling or anything (yet) but I do like to go fast over the bumps and even catch some air from time to time if possible.

 

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Close up of the new suspension.

 

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Some info on the RE Heavy Duty kit:

 

Gen2 Sway Bar Disconnects
Front Coil Spring Front Bump Stop Extensions
Leaf Pack w/Bushings
Rear Brake Hose
Front Brake Lines
Adjustable Track Bar
Track Bar Frame Bracket
Track Bar Frame Bracket Brace
U-Bolt Kit (Dana 44, 1225 = 8.25)
Drop Pitman Arm
Extended Shackle
Front Lower Left Extreme Duty Control Arm w/ Hardware
Front Lower Right Extreme Duty Control Arm
Front Upper Extreme Duty Control Arms w/ Hardware
3- Piece Crossmember (Crossmember, 2-Control Arm Mounts, 2-Side Braces, 2-Bolting Strips, 4-PEM Nut Strips, Transmission Adapter Bracket, Hardware)
Front Sway Bar Relocation Brackets

 

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Before hitting the trails...

 

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And after haha.

 

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Anyway, I’m really glad I discovered Comanche Club. Already fixed a couple things with info from the site, and looking forward to meeting some of the members in person someday. Actually came on the site a long time ago but just recently was able to get my profile working and started posting. Thanks to everyone who makes the site possible, what a wealth of information this thing is! Love seeing all the different builds around the country and learning more about the Comanche every time I visit. Thanks for reading, keep you guys posted on any further mods.

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Ran some trails in Arapahoe National Forest south of Idaho Springs yesterday. Devil's Canyon, Old Little Bear Creek Road and Barbour Forks.

 

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Devil's Canyon is a fun little 5-6 mile loop off CO 103. Fairly easy dirt and rock roads with only one fairly steep, very rocky section that you can go around if needed.

 

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Great views of Mt. Evans and down range from the top.

 

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After that I headed down to Echo Lake Lodge, had some lunch and then continued on 103 which turns into Squaw Pass Road. Took the shortcut north back to Idaho Springs on Little Bear Creek Road. Just a mellow dirt road with fun switchbacks and nice views. But, Old Little Bear Creek Road bypasses the switchbacks along the mountains. Explored that as well and it was really fun. 

 

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Finally, hit up Barbour Forks 4WD recreation area. Some really cool stuff with technical rock sections. I've been wondering why there's not more articulation in the front, I assume it's because my sway bar disconnects aren't actually disconnected? Forgive my naivety but I'm new at this rock crawling stuff... 

 

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It was more for that reason I didn't complete the entire loop. Just drove up to the covered picnic area and explored the trail up into the woods a bit. It's a cool zone, definitely an area worth returning to. 

 

 

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Fixed my drivers side door lock last week that was broken from a screwdriver break-in that happened many years ago. The old one was just sitting in the bottom of the door when I pulled the panel off, clearly beyond repair.

 

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Cheap fix with a standard Chrysler $10 door lock from eBay. Was kind of a pain in the @$$ to get everything reattached, took a zip tie and some rubber bushing to replace some of the plastic pieces that broke but got it working! Then had an alarm put in for extra security. 

 

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Finally, ready for some sound! 11 years I've been driving around with blown speakers haha. Decided to go with the Infinity Kappa 5, a five channel bluetooth amp. This way I could bypass the stock head unit and did not have to mess with the dash or anything. Would be kinda nice to have a working cassette deck, but not worth the trouble. With this amp, you can stream directly from the phone to the amp. Both the front and rear speakers fit right in and replace the stock ones, 5 1/4 components for the front and 6 x4 for the rest. Ordered almost everything from Crutchfield. 

 

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Also replaced the original battery terminals which were in bad shape. Still running the zip tie battery strap too, put that on the list haha. 

 

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The amp sits nicely behind the passenger seat with the bluetooth controller run into the center console. 

 

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The 8" JL Audio CP108LG-W3v3 "Micro Sub" is a perfect fit behind the seat as well. Crutchfield has it for $269, but I found a local place having a sale on it for $199. 

 

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It lays down nice behind the driver seat as well. Ready to rock!


 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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  • 1 month later...

Disconnecting your sway bar will really let the suspension articulate. Also if you didn't know, airing down on the trail will improve traction, puncture resistance and smooth out some bumps. My infinity speakers show up today, kappa 4x6 for the rear and some 6.5 components up front. Might send the 4x6 back for a sub but I got a good deal on them so well see

Sent from my SM-G900V using Tapatalk

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